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Associate Professor Rob Burns

Rob Burns profile photo

Coordinator of Contemporary Music Performance
Associate Professor in Contemporary Music Performance
PhD (Otago), FLCM, BA (Hons), FHEA (UK)
Joined the staff in 2001

Tel 64 3 479 8444
Email rob.burns@otago.ac.nz

Research Expertise

  • Nationalism in popular and folk music
  • Popular music performance (jazz and rock)
  • Commercial composition
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Music industry
  • Musicology
  • Popular music iconography
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Postgraduate Supervision

  • The digitisation of recording and distribution of popular music
  • Popular music performance
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Student Successes

  • David Harrison BMus (Hons), MA, is now a Teaching Fellow in Guitar at the Music Department and is commencing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree.
  • Sam Browne BMus is a member of Black River Drive, a band that recently achieved the number one position in the New Zealand music charts.
  • Michael Holland MA is now studying for a DMA in studio production techniques and is a busy record producer in NZ.
  • Trevor Coleman - composer DMA
  • Frank Gibson - International Drummer - Studying DMA
  • Andrew Atwill - International Bassist - Studying DMA
  • Penelope Esplin - MA
  • John Egenes - DMA
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Other Musical and Community Activities

  • Memberships in The Performing Right Society, Mensa, the English Folk Dance and Song Society, the International Council for Traditional Music, the International Society for the Study of Popular Music. 
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
  • As a professional musician, Burns' career spans four decades. It includes performing with David Gilmour, Pete Townsend, Jon Lord and Ian Paice, Sam and Dave, Isaac Hayes, Eric Burdon, The Stylistics, Edwin Starr, Ian Carr's Nucleus, Zoot Money's Big Roll Band, Vivian Stanshall, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson of Abba, Jerry Donahue, Albert Lee and James Burton. He also played on many TV shows such as Mr. Bean, Blackadder, Alas Smith and Jones, Three of a Kind, French and Saunders, The Lenny Henry Show, Not the Nine O'Clock News, 2.4 Children, A Perfect Spy, and Red Dwarf.
  • Burns performs and records with his own jazz/fusion band, Subject2change, and record with the iconic Dunedin band, The Verlaines and with country music songwriter John Egenes.

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Publications

Burns, R. (2018). Deep thinking: Sting plays bass. NZ Musician. Retrieved from https://nzmusician.co.nz/lessons/deep-thinking-sting-plays-bass/

Burns, R. (2018). Deep thinking: Fretting over picking technique. NZ Musician, 20(4), 22.

Burns, R. (2018). Deep thinking: Addicted to chic. NZ Musician, 20(5), 6.

Burns, R. (2017). Deep thinking: Jaco Pastorius. NZ Musician. Retrieved from https://nzmusician.co.nz/lessons/deep-thinking-jaco-pastorius/

Burns, R. (2017). Deep thinking: Some 12/8 Xmas trickiness! NZ Musician, 20(1), 13.

Authored Book - Research

Burns, R. G. H. (2012). Transforming folk: Innovation and tradition in English folk-rock music. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 284p.

Burns, R. G. H. (1997). Validation document for foundation course in popular music performance. ?: ?.

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Authored Book - Other

Burns, R. G. H. (1999). Validation document for the Bachelor of Music (Popular music performance). London, UK: Inner London Education Authority.

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Chapter in Book - Research

Burns, R. G. H. (2013). Liebe ist für Alle Da: A visual analysis of Rammstein's 2009 album artwork. In J. T. Littlejohn & M. T. Putnam (Eds.), Rammstein on fire: New perspectives on the music and performances. (pp. 216-228). Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co.

Burns, R. G. H. (2013). The power to shock: Perceptions of visual and textual horror in Rammstein’s performance aesthetics. In O. Wilson & S. Attfield (Eds.), Shifting sounds: Musical flow. (pp. 16-23). Dunedin, New Zealand: IASPM Australia/New Zealand.

Bendrups, D., & Burns, R. G. H. (2011). Subject2Change: Musical reassemblage in the jazz diaspora. In D. Bendrups & G. Downes (Eds.), Dunedin soundings: Place and performance. (pp. 67-79). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

Burns, R. (2004). British folk songs in popular music settings. In I. Russell & D. Atkinson (Eds.), Folk song: Tradition, revival, and re-creation. (pp. 115-129). Aberdeen: Elphinstone Institute.

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Journal - Research Article

Burns, R. G. H. (2015). British folk songs of the Great War: Then and now. Journal of Military History, 79(4), 1059-1077.

Burns, R. (2015). Re-establishing Britishness / Englishness: Representation through music in a non-Parliamentary nation. MEDIANZ, 15(1), 119-133. doi: 10.11157/medianz-vol15iss1id115

Burns, R. G. H. (2010). Depicting the “merrie”: Historical imagery in English folk-rock. Music in Art, XXXV(1-2), 105-118.

Burns, R. G. H. (2008). German symbolism in rock music: National signification in the imagery and songs of Rammstein. Popular Music, 27(3), 457-472. doi: 10.1017/S0261143008102239

Burns, R. G. H. (2007). Continuity, variation, and authenticity in the English folk-rock movement. Folk Music Journal, 9(2), 192-218.

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Journal - Research Other

Burns, R. G. H. (2007). [Review of the recording Under the Leaves]. World of Music, 49(1), 222-223.

Burns, R. (2005). Review of the book Electric folk: The changing face of English traditional music. Folk Music Journal, 9(1), 111-113.

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Journal - Professional & Other Non-Research Articles

Burns, R. (2018). Deep thinking: Sting plays bass. NZ Musician. Retrieved from https://nzmusician.co.nz/lessons/deep-thinking-sting-plays-bass/

Burns, R. (2018). Deep thinking: Addicted to chic. NZ Musician, 20(5), 6.

Burns, R. (2018). Deep thinking: Fretting over picking technique. NZ Musician, 20(4), 22.

Burns, R. (2017). Deep thinking: Jaco Pastorius. NZ Musician. Retrieved from https://nzmusician.co.nz/lessons/deep-thinking-jaco-pastorius/

Burns, R. (2017). Deep thinking: Some 12/8 Xmas trickiness! NZ Musician, 20(1), 13.

Burns, R. (2017). Deep thinking: Chuck Berry. NZ Musician. Retrieved from https://nzmusician.co.nz/lessons/deep-thinking-chuck-berry/

Burns, R. (2017). Deep thinking: The Age of Aquarius. NZ Musician, 20(2), 5.

Burns, R. (2017). Deep thinking: Polymetric baselines. NZ Musician, 20(3), 32.

Burns, R. (2016). Ay caramba! Some Latin grooves. NZ Musician, 19(8), 44.

Burns, R. (2016). Keyboard bass + bass guitar = huge bass! NZ Musician, 19(9), 16.

Burns, R. (2016). Deep thinking: And we could be heroes... NZ Musician, 19(5), 12.

Burns, R. (2016). Deep thinking: Chris Squire, Godfather of prog bass. NZ Musician, 19(4), 6.

Burns, R. (2016). Deep thinking: Some greasy funk. NZ Musician, 19(6), 34.

Burns, R. (2015). Deep thinking: XYZ: The prog rock of Rush. NZ Musician, 19(1), 27.

Burns, R. (2015). Deep thinking: Jack Bruce (1943-2014). NZ Musician, 18(7), 10.

Burns, R. (2015). Deep thinking: Two 'why am I a bass player' singles. NZ Musician, 19(3), 14.

Burns, R. (2015). Deep thinking: What's Going On with James Jamerson. NZ Musician, 18(9), 24.

Burns, R. (2015). Deep thinking: YYZ: The prog rock of Rush continued... NZ Musician, 19(2), 22.

Burns, R. (2015). Deep thinking: Bass positioning & fretting techniques. NZ Musician, 18(8), 43.

Burns, R. (2014). Deep thinking: Touching bass with Debussy. NZ Musician, 18(2). Retrieved from http://www.nzmusician.co.nz/index.php/ps_pagename/article/pi_articleid/3626

Burns, R. (2014). Deep thinking: Bass in your face. NZ Musician, 18(5). Retrieved from http://www.nzmusician.co.nz/index.php/ps_pagename/article/pi_articleid/3871

Burns, R. (2014). Deep thinking: Debussy encore. NZ Musician, 18(3). Retrieved from http://www.nzmusician.co.nz/index.php/ps_pagename/article/pi_articleid/3702

Burns, R. (2014). Deep thinking: Funk meets jazz: James Jamerson (1936-1983). NZ Musician, 18(6). Retrieved from http://www.nzmusician.co.nz/index.php/ps_pagename/article/pi_articleid/3952

Burns, R. (2014). Deep thinking: Funky fun with Flea. NZ Musician, 18(1). Retrieved from http://www.nzmusician.co.nz/index.php/ps_pagename/article/pi_articleid/3566

Burns, R. (2013). Deep thinking: Going cross-handed. NZ Musician, 17(4). Retrieved from http://www.nzmusician.co.nz/index.php/ps_pagename/article/pi_articleid/3056

Burns, R. (2013). Deep thinking: Harmonics. NZ Musician, 17(3). Retrieved from http://www.nzmusician.co.nz/index.php/ps_pagename/article/pi_articleid/3017

Burns, R. (2013). Deep thinking: Frank Prestia: A tower of power. NZ Musician, 17(6). Retrieved from http://www.nzmusician.co.nz/index.php/ps_pagename/article/pi_articleid/3186

Burns, R. (2013). Deep thinking: Mr Faun's Afternoon. NZ Musician, 17(5). Retrieved from http://www.nzmusician.co.nz/index.php/ps_pagename/article/pi_articleid/3147

Burns, R. (2013). Deep thinking: Deep thinking. NZ Musician, 17(3). Retrieved from http://www.nzmusician.co.nz/index.php/ps_pagename/article/pi_articleid/2860

Burns, R. (2013). Deep thinking: Chord/melody technique. NZ Musician, 17(7). Retrieved from http://www.nzmusician.co.nz/index.php/ps_pagename/article/pi_articleid/3295

Burns, R. (2012). Deep thinking: Deep thinking. NZ Musician, 16(9). Retrieved from http://www.nzmusician.co.nz/index.php/ps_pagename/article/pi_articleid/2789

Burns, R. (2002). How popular musicians learn. Music Teacher, (July), 18.

Burns, R. G. H. (2002). Last Call. Musician, September, 37.

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Burns, R. G. H. (2015). Bernard Herrmann’s relationship with jazz: The final years of his life and career (1968 to 1975). Proceedings of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) Australia/New Zealand Annual Conference: Into the Mix: People, Places, Processes. (pp. 11-16). Dunedin, New Zealand: IASPM Australia/New Zealand. [Full Paper]

Burns, R. G. H. (2014). Devolving folk: Re-establishing Britishness/Englishness. In J. O'Regan & T. Wren (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music Australia/New Zealand (IASPM-ANZ) Conference: Popular Music, Communities, Places, Ecologies. (pp. 56-66). Brisbane, Australia: IASPM-ANZ. [Full Paper]

Burns, R. G. H. (2011). Rock and roll troubadours: Satire as social commentary in rock music. In J. Cattermole, S. Homan & G. Smith (Eds.), Instruments of Change: Proceedings of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) Australia-New Zealand 2010 Conference. (pp. 21-24). Melbourne, Australia: International Association for the Study of Popular Music. [Full Paper]

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